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Conditions Associated With The Mouth

Causes Of Common Mouth Conditions

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The mouth is one of the most important parts of the body, playing a role in vital functions such as breathing, eating, speaking, and digestion. Improper dental hygiene can lead to a number of problems, which can affect your ability to eat, drink, or even smile. Patients who experience any of the following conditions should contact Gainesville dentists at Van Dyke General and Implant Dentistry for diagnosis and treatment.


Most people will experience at least one or two cavities in their lives. Cavities are caused by plaque build-up on the teeth and gum line that produces acid, destroying tooth enamel. Without treatment, cavities can spread infection to other parts of the mouth, possibly resulting in tooth loss. In most cases, dentists in Gainesville will treat cavities with fillings, but extreme cases may necessitate a dental crown. The most effective way to avoid cavities is by brushing and flossing daily.

Mouth Sores

Mouth sores in and around the mouth can be painful and unsightly. Cold sores, caused by a viral infection, can appear around the mouth on the lips, under the nose, and on the chin. These are painful, fluid-filled blisters that usually appear in clusters and are highly infectious. Cold sores heal in about a week but may recur throughout a patient’s lifetime. Canker sores appear inside the mouth. Unlike cold sores, canker sores are not contagious. There is no cure for canker sores, and the exact cause is unknown, but most canker sores heal on their own in a week. Fatigue, stress, and illness can increase the risk of canker sores. Mouth sores can also be caused by irritants inside the mouth such as loose braces wires, ill-fitting dentures, and broken teeth or fillings. Patients should schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible after developing a mouth sore. Your Gainesville dentist can diagnose the cause of the sore and recommend the most effective course of treatment.

Oral Thrush

Candidiasis, also known as thrush, is a yeast infection that occurs in the mouth. Thrush is caused by the yeast Candida albicans, which can flourish when the immune system is suppressed, after a round of antibiotic treatment, or when there is a lack of the normal bacteria in the mouth. Symptoms of thrush include painful white and red patches inside the mouth, which can interfere with the ability to taste. Thrush is most common in the very old and very young, patients suffering from diabetes or HIV, and patients who wear dentures. It can be treated with good oral hygiene and antifungal medications.

Gum Disease

Periodontal disease, also referred to as gum disease, is caused by bacteria in the mouth that affect the health of the tissues and bones that support the teeth. Most gum disease is caused by plaque that accumulates on the teeth and leads to gingivitis. Left untreated, this can cause gums to recede from the teeth, resulting in further gum infection and even tooth loss. Signs of gum disease include sensitive or bleeding gums, loose teeth, bad breath, and receding gums. Treatment for gum disease ranges from a simple change in behavior, such as engaging in proper dental care, to surgical treatment such as tooth extraction. Patients who notice early warning signs of gum disease should contact their Gainesville dentist for treatment before the condition can progress.

Oral And Throat Cancer

Roughly 40,000 new cases of mouth and throat cancer are diagnosed in the United States every year. Because early stages of oral cancer don’t exhibit noticeable symptoms in most cases, regular dental checkups are the most effective way to detect oral and throat cancer. At every dental checkup in Gainesville, FL, your dental hygienist or dentist with conduct a visual scan for oral cancers.

Signs of oral cancer include:

  • A persistent sore or irritation
  • Red or white patches in the mouth
  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness in the mouth or lips
  • A lump, rough spot, or eroded area in the mouth
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or speaking

Signs of throat cancer include:

  • A lump or growth in the throat or neck
  • Persistent cough or sore throat
  • Earache
  • Difficulty swallowing

While anyone can get cancer, patients who smoke or drink heavily are at higher risk.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, also known as TMJ or TMD, refers to a problem in the jaw joint that generally develops over an extended period. It may be caused by an injury to the jaw, diseases that affect the muscles or joints, tooth grinding or clenching, or anxiety.

Common symptoms of TMD include:

  • Ear pain
  • Headaches
  • Facial pain
  • Clicking or popping noises from the jaw
  • Limited movement of the mouth
  • Tender or sore jaw muscles

Regular appointments for general dentistry in Gainesville, FL, are necessary to identify precursors to TMD before symptoms worsen.

With proper oral hygiene and regular dentist appointments, patients can identify and treat common oral conditions before they become major problems. Contact Gainesville dentists at Van Dyke General and Implant Dentistry today to schedule a checkup!